Saturday, 15 February 2014

Alfonso Cuarón's 'Gravity': Is there a Chance that a Science Fiction Film Could Finally Win a Major Award?

Recently the Oscar Nominees are announced and unusually a science fiction movie, Alfonso Cuarón's critically acclaimed film Gravity was among the nominees for several major awards. This is an interesting development as science fiction has never been hugely popular with the Oscars. It is very rare to see a science fiction movie nominated for any Oscar, but we have yet to see one win anything higher than "Best Special Effects".

Once in a while we do see a science fiction film get nominated for one of the big Oscars such as best actor/actress, direction, or even best picture. These contenders include movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Star WarsE.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, StarmanAliensDistrict 9, Avatar, and Inception. So far, none of these movies have won anything higher than Best Visual Effects.

The greatest cinematic achievement of all time by one of the greatest directors of its age... not even nominated for Best Picture and lost Best Director to Oliver.

This brings us back into the present with a film like Gravity. When it was released it was a huge hit and a sensation among critics, but then again so was E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time and yet only won Best Visual Effects (which, incidentally was also the only Oscar won by Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest directors who ever lived). It's also being pitted against various other movies that have also received a great deal of praise and perhaps would be preferred by the Academy.

So what is the likelihood that perhaps this could change. Is there a chance at all that Gravity could break the cycle. Back in 2004 we did see The Lord of the Rings clean up at the Oscars, so it is possible for a genre film to win a major award, but that was fantasy and we're discussing science fiction.

One of the greatest achievements since 2001: A Space Odyssey, but can it succeed where its predecessor failed?

Though it is probably little more than optimistic thinking, I'm personally hoping that there is a chance of Gravity becoming the first science fiction film to win Best Picture. My guess is, however, that the Academy would give the award (along with Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Director) to 12 Years a Slave or any of the other nominees first before allowing that to happen.

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